New Balance says the 608V2 is simply the current model of the 608 series shoe. According to NB’s Customer Care Department, there are only "minor differences" between these shoes. The newer V2 series has some additional cushioning, but "the main difference is aesthetic." The company says customers who liked the 608 cross trainer should like the 608V2 cross trainer, too.
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Both the 608 and the 608V2 are shoes designed for cross training. The Dick’s Sporting Goods buyer’s guide describes cross trainers as an all-purpose sport shoe that can be very versatile if you like to vary your workout routine. They generally can go from the gym to the street to a tennis court. However, Dick’s notes that cross trainers are not a good choice for serious runners. They lack the cushioning and flexibility of a running shoe and weigh a bit more.
Both the 608 and 608V2 come in several colors. New Balance offers the updated shoes in white with blue, white with pink and black for women. The earlier version was described as white with navy and blue highlights. The men’s 608V2 model comes in white with navy, white with black, brown and black. There are some slight color variations from the older model.
Another of the aesthetic changes between the older and new model involves the materials used for the shoe’s upper. The New Balance website describes the older model of the shoe as having a leather upper. The newer model has a combination leather and mesh upper.
New Balance is using a cushioning system it calls ABZORB Heel and Forefoot in its V2 series. New Balance says this proprietary cushioning is designed “for maximum cushioning and shock absorption from heel strike to toe-off.” It uses a foam-based polymer to help absorb shock and soften the impact of walking or running. The older models didn't offer the ABZORB system in the forefoot; they used ABZORB Heel.
Lasts are the wood or plastic form that a shoe is constructed around. New Balance has changed the lasts used in the newer model of the 608 cross trainer. The older version used an AL-2 last for women and the AL-1 last for men. The 608V2 uses a WX-001 last for women and a MX-001 last for men. The WX-001 is described as offering standard sizing in heel width, instep height, toe box depth and forefoot width. The MX-001 offers standard sizing across the board for men.